There are several misconceptions about estate planning that many people don’t understand. Perhaps the biggest myth is thinking only the wealthy need a will. Another fallacy is that powers of attorney aren’t necessary if you’re married. You may even believe that it’s too expensive to create a will.
These misconceptions can, unfortunately, put your loved ones in a tough spot. They can also cost you more money in the long run. You can avoid the hassles by working with an experienced Raleigh estate panning lawyer.
Raleigh family attorney Jonathan Breeden recognizes that it can be difficult to contemplate needs in the event of death or incapacity. However, he also has a keen understanding of the considerable benefits of wills and powers of attorney. He can identify your options, explain the advantages, and demonstrate how they provide comfort for your family during a difficult time.
Generally, your will is a map of your directions and intentions regarding the property you own when you die. It is a document that allows you to choose the person you want in charge of your assets, and who should distribute them to the intended beneficiaries.
If you comply with state laws, the document acts as a legally-binding set of instructions regarding estate administration. You can trust a Raleigh estate planning lawyer to assist with drafting your will, but it’s useful to understand how it works and the advantages it offers.
One key aspect of creating a will is to appoint a person you trust to take care of your final affairs when you die. The person you appoint, referred to as the executor, is required to follow the terms of your will and the rules regarding estate administration.
Some of the tasks an executor performs include:
It’s important to understand that the probate process won’t apply to every item that you have an interest in as an owner. For instance, you may have a joint interest with right of survivorship in real estate, or be listed jointly with someone else on the title to a car. In these situations, your interest transfers over to the survivor when you die. If you designate a person as a “pay-on-death” beneficiary, that individual receives the asset by operation of law. Examples include the proceeds of bank accounts and life insurance policies.
If you have questions about the probate process, or how to designate someone as a beneficiary, contact a Raleigh wills & power of attorney lawyer for help.
You don’t have to be rich to have a will, but your family, beneficiaries, and loved ones will thank you if you do. The benefits of creating a will,
People often think they can simply write up a will that details their final wishes without an attorney. And while North Carolina does allow for a “holographic” will, people do this at their own risk. There are strict rules for what makes such a will legally valid, and without help, your will could be dismissed.
First, your estate must be administered in the county where your primary residence is located. If you live in Wake County, your estate will be settled through the Clerk of Court at the Wake County Courthouse.
That’s why it’s best to meet with a qualified estate planning attorney and discuss what you want to achieve and how to make it happen. During this consultation, a lawyer will review your financials and go over what documents you need,
Once these items are prepared, you will review them for accuracy and once completed, we will properly execute your will.
The original document will be given to you and your estate lawyer will maintain another copy. The court does not require a copy of their own. Like any important legal document, wills should be stored in a secure but accessible location. We usually advise people to let their Executor know the location of your will and how to access it when necessary.
A person can change their will at any point as long as the individual has not been legally determined to have lost the required mental capacity to do so.
Many people get confused by living wills in North Carolina because of the terminology surrounding them. However, a living will is more important during your life than upon your death. This document, otherwise known as an advance directive, states your instructions about different forms of medical treatment if you’re unable to express your wishes. For example, you may want to make your intentions known when:
By executing a living will, you can tell your loved ones what medical procedures you consent to, and which types of treatment you reject. Under the circumstances, there is less likely to be confusion or disputes among your loved ones when you’re not in a position to provide permission. For instance, you may approve or disapprove of:
With assistance from a Raleigh wills & power of attorney lawyer, you can understand the implications of an advance directive and ensure compliance with your wishes for end-of-life care. Plus, you can avoid costly, time-consuming litigation, which could happen when your loved ones disagree.
Powers of attorney are legal mechanisms you can use to grant a person authority to handle certain issues if you can’t, typically because you’re physically or mentally incapacitated. By completing these documents according to the requirements of North Carolina law, you appoint someone to act as your agent. There are different types of legal powers you can grant, so consult with a lawyer about:
To understand the importance of executing powers of attorney, it helps to compare them to your situation if you don’t make the proper arrangements. When you’re incapacitated due to injury or illness, you need someone to communicate with your health care providers regarding your care. You’ll also need help with financial matters, from basic banking to more complex transactions.
Without powers of attorney, the only option left for your loved ones is to go through the North Carolina guardianship process. You must rely on these individuals to pay a probate attorney, file the proper documents, go to court, potentially participate in a hearing on guardianship, and ultimately obtain the proper papers. Meanwhile, during the proceedings, your overall well-being could deteriorate, and your assets are subject to waste because there’s no one to act on your behalf.
Durable and health care powers of attorney eliminate guardianship proceedings, because the documents themselves allow your agent to manage your health care and property. There’s no need to go to court, saving your loved ones’ time and money.
Your estate planning options may vary depending on your circumstances, and you must make the right choices to take advantage of the different benefits. If you don’t understand the implications of the documents you are compiling or receiving, you and your family could end up in a situation that conflicts with your intentions.
In these situations, it’s essential to work with a trusted Raleigh estate planning lawyer. Attorney Jonathan Breeden takes the time to review your situation and identify suitable options that serve the needs of you and your family. Even more importantly, he possesses attention to detail that ensures the relevant documents are properly drafted and executed. He has years of experience assisting individuals, couples, and families with the estate planning process, so he knows how crucial it is to present you with a personalized experience.